The AP (5/5, Thomas) reports that the Senate Commerce Committee “proposed a major overhaul to the nation’s auto safety requirements” that “would force car companies to meet new safety standards and face stiff penalties for failing to report defects,” just a week after a similar bill was released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “underscoring Congress’ intent to bring the first significant reforms to auto safety since the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tire recalls of a decade ago.” The bill includes a requirement that automobiles “stop within a certain distance when the vehicle’s engine is operating with an open throttle,” which a brake override system would meet. Cars would have to have event data recorders that hold “at least 60 seconds prior to the crash and 15 seconds after the accident.”
The New York Times (5/5, B5, Maynard) reports that the bill “requires a standard governing the safety of electronic vehicle controls,” and Sen. Barbara Boxer proposal “to restrict ties between auto companies and staff members of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration” is part of the bill. The NHTSA also “would establish standards on keyless ignition systems” with the goal of “standardizing the steps a driver would take to bring a vehicle under control in an emergency.” The bill also “would provide more money for vehicle safety investigations by the agency, even though its administrator, David L. Strickland, has said that the agency has sufficient financing.”
The Detroit News (5/5, Shepardson) reports that the bill “gives sweeping new power to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to halt sales and production in the event it determines a vehicle is an ‘imminent danger’ to the public.”
Competition fierce for lead role in Toyota litigation. The Wall Street Journal (5/5, A1, Searcey) reports on the fierce competition among attorneys for the lead role in litigation against Toyota Motor Corp. The Journal reports that attorneys are jockeying before US District Judge James Selna, who will oversee the litigation in Santa Ana, CA. The first hearing is scheduled for May 13, according to the Journal.
From the American Association for Justice news release.